Thursday, June 21, 2007

Trigger Finger

I had a visit to the ortho clinic today. For the last year, I've had a
trigger finger. This is a painful inflammatory condition where the tendons at the base of the finger swell and get caught in a little tunnel of ligament called a "pulley". When you flex and extend the finger, it can get caught in a bent position. This condition is more common in people with hypothyroidism and diabetes (I have both). It also doesn't help that I'm a craftsperson and do a lot of knitting and beadwork.

I had one cortisone shot a year ago, which did nothing. I decided to go back for another before having surgery.

The hand specialist had retired so I saw his PA. He is a big, strapping, football player looking guy. We discussed symptoms and options and he went to get the cortisone.

I decided to test my blood, and was doing so when he came back. Just to be sure he'd read my entire chart, I said "oh, you saw that I have type one diabetes, didn't you?". He replied, "Yes. I have it too - since I was 10".

To my amazement, I blurted out,
"but you don't look diabetic". Where on earth did that come from? How is my head defining how a person with diabetes should look? Why did I say that?

I apologized and we then went on to chat about various aspects of the condition.

He gave me the injection, which felt like hot oil traveling up my finger, and wished me luck.

I've been thinking about this all afternoon and conclude that my image of a pwd goes back to my cousins, and growing up among a number of them whose health was in various states of unraveling. Am I defining myself like that also? It certainly can't contribute to a sense of well-being. I think I better reframe this.

Take a look at the members on Tu Diabetes, A Social Network for People Touched By Diabetes. Look at all the smiling, vibrant faces. Of course, I know that most everyone with the disease goes through struggles and endures great moments of rage, sorrow, and despair, but the joy of life still shines through on these faces. This is what pwds look like. I'll try to keep it in mind.

Happy first day of summer, everyone!


Kerri. said...

This is a terrific post. It's so interesting how the internet, and all of these support systems therein, have changed the way I view diabetes. And how I view myself.

Zazzy said...

A trigger finger? Heh, I have/had that in my middle finger. I never thought of it as a trigger :-)

Interesting thoughts on how we view people with diabetes. It helps me be more patient with people who don't have diabetes to know how much confusion and biases we have within our own community.

Kelsey said...

Maybe I'm just really egocentric, but I think of a typical person with type 1 diabetes as being just like me :) Young, active, capable, and living with a chronic condition. Being "sick" doesn't factor into my thinking much.

Very interesting to think about!

BetterCell said...

Hi Kathy.......
I have had 4 Trigger Fingers, all requiring surgery except for one that responded to the cortisone injection.
As all of us with T1DM know or should know by now, Diabetes (T1DM) is about more than carb-insulin-glucose ratios.
It is a complex Disease that will or has the potential to affect our Micro-Macro-Vascular system and organs related. Not a "simple disease" at all. It is too bad that the average "public" can only relate to Diabetes as Type 2 Diabetes(IRD) and assumes that the person just has,"to watch what he eats."
I wear no smile on red rosy cheeks.

Dee said...

How did the injection go? I have this in my left thumb and right little finger and I am waiting to see the orthopaedic specialist. I think mine was brought on by far too much knitting!

Bernard said...

Hi Kathy

I hope the finger rights itself soon. Is there any physical therapy that can help there?

You make an excellent point about TuDiabetes. There are a lot of smiling faces.

When I was at my recent pump meeting there were about 20 people in the room, most with Type 1. And some of those had it for more than 50 years. And they were raucous, opinionated, laughing, smiling. No sorrowful attitudes. Just a group folks getting on with living as best they can.

Anonymous said...

You should be a Rep for Prozac, bernard.

Kevin said...

"I know that most everyone with the disease goes through struggles and endures great moments of rage, sorrow, and despair, but the joy of life still shines through..." Really struck a chord (C#?) for me while reading your post.

I hope your fingers get better. I'm currently dealing with some carpal tunnel issues myself. I think all the manual labor I've been doing has really aggravated the muscles and tendons in my wrist and been causing my hands to go numb a lot at night. I *really* hope this goes away soon.

Molly said...

I had "trigger thumb" about a year ago. They told me it was from a previous bad fracture, but maybe it was from the D. hmmm. Anyway... the ortho surgeon that I saw also had a very HOT P.A. who had type 1. Wonder if we were at the same clinic in town, otherwise what a coincidence.
Hope that the cortisone didn't screw too much with your b.s.'s.

Enjoy the wonderful MN weather.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, through all my filing, it's my left thumb. Use to be able to hyperextend it but am unable to flex or extend it now. How does IDDM and hypothyroidism play a part in this? Work refuses to submit a worker's comp claim. Happy go lucky I am, yet very frustrated but this. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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